For some of us in DLF IV, the bund has simply existed on the side, sometimes as a green oasis, sometimes as an irritant with stagnant water. We knew it was forest land and that was about all. Sometime in Nov 2015, came the news that the Forest Department has plans to revive the bund, and one part of the project was to be developed by iamgurgaon (IAG). What the bund can do for Gurgaon is unfolding beautifully months later.
The Forest Department and IAG with American Express’s support have worked wonders in the stretch opposite Paras Hospital. The American Express employees along with the volunteers on a cloudy afternoon came in large numbers to do the planting of trees and shrubs. The planting was inaugurated in the presence of Mr. M.D. Sinha, Forest Conservator, Haryana (South Circle) and Mr. Sanjay Rishi of American Express (Amex). The trees and shrubs are native to the Aravali region and 200 odd employees planted close to 1000 saplings. The IAG gardeners had done a wonderful job with the arrangements and gave demonstrations to groups of employees on how to plant.
How an inclusive public place should look like along with the obvious ecological benefits is now coming to life at the bund. The walking path, cycling track, wheel chair access, and tactile tiles for the visually impaired – open to ALL is an experience not encountered in our cities. The 5 km stretch connects one end of Gurgaon to the other and is designed for mobility. The thoughtfulness in every element is very apparent.
Latika of IAG excitedly shared how the resources were conserved – the plastic mess in the bund was removed and sent off for recycling instead of being dumped elsewhere and the malba lying in the vicinity was reused as a base for the path instead of buying bricks and breaking them. The porous areas ensure that the rain water seeps into the soil, the slopes also help to harness water. “This place is not just for people like us (for recreation) but all those who walk to work” shared Latika. Overbridges and safe crossings on the roads can make the bund a seamless stretch, a pioneer in non -motorised transport in the country.
Vina of VSPB associates, the architects working on the project, shared how this place is designed for mobility as well as a safe public place for people to come in the evenings. A “root zone treatment” which uses plants, has been proposed to clean the water. “We hope at a later date there will be lights, and post sunset too people can enjoy the place,” said Vina.
Sanjay Rishi observed that the bund will be a green lung, and we all can look back with pride at our contribution. It was encouraging to hear that Amex is in it for the long term.
The Forest Department has now asked IAG to take over the balance work as well which was earlier awarded to HUDA. Unfortunately, HUDA’s vision of revival involved concretisation of the bund instead of diverting the sewage water and getting it treated.
As we all were leaving, the clouds opened up and showered their love on all the newly planted saplings.
By Veena Padmanabhan who volunteered with planting at the Bund on August 10, 2016.